We did a preview for this game way back in 2006 but clearly, it’s well past time to issue an updated preview for the sake of all those role-playing fans out there. Heck, this project doesn’t even have the same title anymore! Originally known as White Knight Story , it has since been changed to White Knight Chronicles , and we’ve also learned that it will definitely come to North America at some point. On top of which, we’ve got new interviews, details from E3, and of course, the handy-dandy Fact Sheet straight from SCEA. And so, we embark on the most informative, in-depth, up-to-date preview of one of the most anticipated PS3 RPGs.
First up is the addition of elements that make the game seem more like a blend between a traditional role-playing experience and a MMORPG. The player will be able to customize his or her own avatar and once your character has been created, you can take him to online battlefields in order to level up and discover new equipment and items. Afterwards, your efforts will be rewarded in the single-player campaign because everything you gained online will come with you! In total, there will be six different characters you can control throughout the single-player campaign, and let’s not forget that the main character, Leonard, has the mysterious and powerful ability to transform into the legendary White Knight. It’s here where we learn more about the early back story behind the plot in WKC: at the start, two countries are at war and in order to bring peace to the kingdom, the King of Balandor invites the Duke of Faria to his castle to celebrate his daughter’s coming of age. Unfortunately, a rogue group known as the Magi has other plans and they bust up the party, hell-bent on stealing the power of the White Knight for their own. That power slumbers beneath the castle and the King’s daughter gets caught up in the chaos.
In trying to rescue the princess, Leonard accidentally unlocks the White Knight and from there on, he is able to call him forth into battle. Of course, there are other Knights and Leonard and a group of capable warriors set out to stop the Magi from finding and claiming them. Now, Leonard’s ability is clearly best used against multiple enemies or even whole troops of soldiers, so we assume you’ll have to call upon the White Knight sparingly and strategically. The battle is what has been described as a mix of traditional turn-based and innovative real-time elements, as you will be able to string together a variety of combination attacks with any given character. When we first saw this game in action all that time ago at the Tokyo Game Show 2006, we were amazed at how realistically the characters executed and responded to attacks; they would stumble backwards when deflecting a blow with their shield, and lunge forward aggressively when going on the offensive. This “active turn-based battle system” is also fully customizable, giving the player all the time in the world to set things up just so.
We’ve heard that there will be literally hundreds of items and pieces of equipment to be found, although many of them will only be available in the online portions of the game. Therefore, there’s always plenty of incentive to go online with up to three other players and take on several quests; doing so will invariably give you the edge in the single-player campaign. This is why they’re calling it the “first true online RPG on the PS3.” But if online gaming isn’t your bag, have no fear: the single-player campaign should be plenty robust. You will wander through 13 different stages and 6 towns/villages during your quest to stop the Magi, and the environments will be both diverse and beautiful. And if you’d rather do offline multiplayer, up to three friends can join in on the single-player adventure action. There are any number of possibilities and of course, you’re more than welcome to play on your own, either offline or online. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of WKC is its accessibility, as it doesn’t necessarily “require” you to do anything but play. There’s incentive to try all different aspects of the game, but how you experience WKC is entirely up to you.
And hey, they’re not about to sacrifice any typical single-player RPG depth just because we have online elements. The story is going to take center-stage offline and you’ll be able to build special weapons and items as you progress, so it’s not like you’ll be missing anything from a standard RPG experience. When you’re ready, you can feel free to communicate with other members of the WKC community at GeoNet, where players can have their own blogs and toss up pictures of their exploits. The game gives you something called the “Crystal Camera,” which will let you photograph the more intense and interesting moments during your quest(s), and that’s a nice little feature to have. If you haven’t seen any of the videos we’ve accumulated over the past few months, feel free to take a gander at them now; as you can see, they really do appeal to all sorts of RPG aficionados. It’s one thing to claim your game is a blend of standard and online role-playing elements, but it’s quite another to prove it with the relevant visual. We still don’t have a U.S. release date for White Knight Chronicles , but we assume it’s going to drop some time early next year. If you want to cross your fingers for a holidays 2009 launch, feel free…